Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Q and A With William Moss, Author of FINDING INNER PEACE DURING TROUBLED TIMES
Q: Our world is characterized by war, violence, and conflict, and many of us experience that conflict in our inner beings. What would you say to those who long for inner peace but wonder if it is possible to find?
A: I believe God wants us to find peace and will show us the way, if we are willing to accept it. But for many of us, the peace of God is elusive, and we are not sure how to accept it. How do we search for this peace? Should we isolate ourselves from the world around us by withdrawing and adopting an inward focus, that we might gain that peace for ourselves? Though this seems the obvious answer, I believe those who are in Christ should avoid the kind of self focus and withdrawal that would preclude us from being involved in the solutions of the many problems that confront us. Instead, we search for inner peace because we want to share it, that we may be able to help others. Inner peace, like life, is a gift from God that is for His glory—and it is meant to be shared.
Q: If God wants us to find peace, why is it so rare to meet someone who has truly found it?
A: Obviously, there are many difficulties, distractions, and hardships that stand in the way of our inner peace.
As Paul said to the Galatians, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law of Moses."
Paul says, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like."
Today there are some distractions Paul did not include such as: worry, self-preservation, hunger, lack of money, arrogance, competitiveness, criticism, and illness, to name a few. It is these distractions—whether due to circumstances or the attitudes of our hearts—that stand between us and the inner peace we crave.
Q: Who is the source of our inner peace?
A: The Bible clearly tells us, time and again, that Jesus Christ Himself is the source of that peace. In Romans Paul says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Again in Ephesians, Paul says, "For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility." In Colossians, we read, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace." And consider the words of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, found in the book of John: "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Jesus gives peace to every believer. But so often, we allow the distractions of our days and our choices to pursue sin instead of the character of Christ to prevent us from accepting that peace.
Q: Some Christians have been wary of the art of Christian meditation because they have associated the word "meditation" with Eastern religions. Why is meditation so vital to our search for inner peace?
A: We live in a strange and changing world shaped by banking collapses, recessions, wars, politics, famine, hurricanes, pollution, and diverse economies and demographics. How does this changing, strange world affect our daily decisions? Where does God fit into all of this? One of our biggest hurdles to hearing God's voice is the fact that we simply are not listening.
Many people wrongly believe that Eastern religions have the monopoly on "meditation." The truth is that meditating on scripture was a spiritual discipline valued by the early church fathers, and it is a practice the church desperately needs to return to today. Whereas the aim of eastern meditation is to focus on nothing (in effect, emptying the mind), Christian meditation is about filling the mind—focusing on Holy Scripture and Christ. With the constant stream of media, noise, commitments, conflicts, and other distractions, you will not likely find times of quiet, stillness, and spiritual reflection unless you are intentional, unless you pursue meditation as a discipline. Through prayer and meditation we can transcend all the distractions and difficulties of our days if we live by the Spirit and put God's love and presence first.
Q: What role does the Holy Spirit play in our search for inner peace?
A: God's Spirit is within us constantly. As we read in John, "We know that we live in Him and He in us because He has given us His Spirit." Therefore, because God is in Jesus, Jesus is in you, and you are in God. The Holy Spirit dwells in you at all times, and it is the Holy Spirit that connects you to Christ and to God, the power source that brings inner peace. Prayer and Christian meditation takes on a completely different quality when we realize that God knows us intimately from within. And God is love; within God's love are the seeds for inner peace. When God comforts and encourages our souls through His love and when we share that love with others, He is guiding us along the path that leads to inner peace.
Q: Because the practice of Christian meditation has been neglected for so long, many Christians aren't sure how to begin. Can you offer an example to get them started?
A: Start prayer and meditation by finding a quiet comfortable place, by closing your eyes, by breathing deeply until you are completely relaxed. Quietly and slowly open your heart and mind to a loving God whose Spirit is dwelling within you.
Breathe in love, breathe out anger.
Breathe in peace, breathe out despair.
Relax: let God's love into your heart.
Be calm. Be at peace. Take more deep breaths, and feel the stress, anxiety and fear drain from your bodies.
This exercise will prepare you to listen to God's voice as you concentrate on a scripture passage and to respond in prayer.
Q: What is the most important message you want to communicate in Finding Inner Peace During Troubled Times?
Website for William Moss is here.
Finding Inner Peace During Troubled Times
Author William Moss
Publisher: The Barnabas Agency (December 4, 2009); 64 pages
Available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Believers' Press.
Thanks to Audra Jennings and The B&B Media Group for providing press kit and a review copy of the book.